This 2023 BWW Faculty page will
be updated as time goes on.
Kayla Cichello is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary.
At the 2023 BWW, Kayla is teaching a speech and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Kayla brings nearly a decade of experience in children’s publishing to her agent position. A former Conference Coordinator for the Summer and Winter Conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she most recently logged several years as assistant to Senior Agent Jennifer Rofé at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
She is open to picture books through YA and illustrators, and is searching for those voices that make her laugh and keep the page turning. Some of her clients include author Ana Otaru, author of the upcoming MASQUERADE FOR GRANDPA (Atheneum/S&S, 2023) and author/illustrator Kirbi Fagan, illustrator of SUMMER OF THE TREE ARMY (Sleeping Bear, 2021).
In her own words: “I’ve always been a voracious reader. From the time I could read, I would spend summers staying up late with a flashlight reading, making my way through each Nancy Drew mystery and the Little House on The Prairie series. I would often imagine myself as a new character in the stories; a kind friend to Laura or Nancy’s sassy sidekick (move over, George). For me, reading has never felt like an escape from reality, but rather an invitation to run alongside the author’s imagination, and strengthen my own. Weekends always included a trip to the library with a list of books to check out and back up selections in case my first choices were currently checked out.
”Hailing from Texas, I did not take the traditional path into publishing. After majoring in English at the University of Texas, I found my way to California and into the generous and welcoming tribe of SCBWI. I owe my education in children’s books to Lin Oliver, Kim Turrisi, and Jennifer Rofé, each of whom imparted on me their knowledge of and passion for this industry.
“I may have upgraded from a flashlight, but I’m still on the lookout for those stories that will make me stay up late turning the next page.”
Jane Chun is a literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit.
At the 2023 BWW, Jane is teaching a speech and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Prior to working at J&N, Jane worked on a freelance project for HG Literary and interned at Writers House and Maximum Films & Management.
Jane is particularly interested in stories that center marginalized communities and prose that is cinematic and atmospheric with good rhythm. In both fiction and nonfiction, she is drawn towards compelling, fresh voices that make her feel as though the writer is in the room with her, telling her their story with intimacy as if they were already acquainted. Regardless of how plot-driven a story is, characters with rich inner worlds and emotional depth are a must for her.
For fiction, she is seeking commercial, upmarket, and literary works in both adult and MG/YA about the search for and rebuilding of identity, diaspora, family and community, and examinations of power in relationships. She is also looking for fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction that delve into sharp social commentary and have meticulous worldbuilding and settings that don’t feel like Western Europe. For historical fiction, she likes hidden histories and anything that is set in a time or place she’s not familiar with or focuses on a community that has been often overlooked if it’s a time/place she knows.
In terms of nonfiction, she is looking for memoirs, essay collections, and narrative nonfiction with a nuanced, intersectional approach and similar themes to her interests in fiction. She also is interested in books about food, travel, pop culture, and cultural criticism that dive deeply and thoughtfully into culture and traditions.
In addition to traditional prose, she is very interested in graphic novels and nonfiction. She is looking for stylistically engaging, unique art that feels either nostalgic without being derivative or fresh and boundary-pushing.
She is not the right person for picture books, prescriptive nonfiction, self-help, religion/spirituality books, romance, commercial thrillers, hard sci-fi, poetry, or short story collections.
Jane is a native New Yorker and attended NYU where she majored in History and minored in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology; Creative Writing; and Spanish. She returned to NYU shortly after graduating to receive her M.S. in Publishing with distinction.
Jane is part of the 2022 Literary Agents of Change Mentorship Program cohort and the American Association of Literary Agents (AALA).
Maria Vicente is a senior literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency.
At the 2023 BWW, Maria is teaching a speech and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Maria represents bold and innovative books for kids, teens, and curious adults. Her favorite books to work on show readers something new about the real world or invite them into new worlds they never want to leave.
In her 8 years at PSLA, Maria has launched the careers of many authors and illustrators and is known for being an early advocate of the growing graphic novel market in trade publishing. With a B.A. in English from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from Western University, she puts her teaching background to use hosting workshops about the publishing industry and supporting her fellow agents at PSLA. Maria lives in New Brunswick, Canada, reading and selling books from the Atlantic Ocean shore.
Maria is acquiring fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages. She is looking for: literary fiction and upmarket speculative fiction (fantasy, magical realism, horror); young adult novels; middle grade novels; illustrated picture books; illustrated graphic novels, graphic memoirs, and graphic nonfiction; and narrative nonfiction for kids, teens, or adult readers about culture, arts and entertainment, history, and science topics. She welcomes and encourages submissions from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled creators.
Leticia Gomez is the editorial director for Kensington Books and Dafina.
At the 2023 BWW, Leticia is teaching a speech and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Leticia is the Editorial Director for Dafina Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp., which focuses on high-quality fiction and nonfiction that centers on race, identity, and its impact on our experiences. Dafina’s carefully curated list is a home for dynamic stories that innovate and amplify voices too long ignored through books that entertain, challenge, and inspire.
Launched in 2000 as the first African-American imprint, Dafina has led the market for more than twenty years in highlighting voices of color. Leticia is actively seeking to acquire multicultural fiction and nonfiction of all genres, including literary fiction, commercial fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery, and narrative nonfiction of all genres with a focus on authors of color (BIPOC) hailing from all walks of life, as well as specific nonfiction projects for marginalized communities.
In addition to her role at Kensington, Leticia is a prominent literary/film/television agent who specializes in bringing culturally diverse voices to the forefront. She has helped her clients secure deals with the largest publishers in the world and has seen several of her projects successfully optioned for TV and film rights. As a literary agent, she has placed nearly 200 books with independent and mainstream traditional publishers. In January of 2007, Leticia launched Savvy Literary Services, becoming one of a highly select group of agencies in the world that specializes in the Latino book market.
Savvy Literary is now an industry leader specializing in Self-help, Narrative Non-fiction, Memoir, True Crime, Spiritual/Inspirational, Political/Current Affairs, Suspense/Thriller, Family Drama, and the Young Adult market. Championing the work of minority writers continues to be a top priority for the agency. Blending her experience as an author, literary/film/television agent and acquisition editor, she is truly excited to spearhead her very own Hispanic book imprint Café con Leche Books.
Kat Kerr is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency.
At the 2023 BWW, Kat is teaching a speech and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Kat joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2019. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors in English in 2009 and is drawn to literary and commercial voices within the adult and YA markets, as well as adult nonfiction. Kat feels strongly about supporting programs like We Need Diverse Books and is passionate about creating space in this industry for those from historically marginalized communities. She is actively seeking to grow her client list and is particularly hungry for magical realism, literary leaning speculative and science fiction, women’s fiction, YA works with a lot of heart, and narrative nonfiction with something to say.
Lindsay Flanagan of Tobias Literary Agency is an agent assistant, editor, and author living in Utah. As of 2023, she is now taking on her own clients.
At the 2023 BWW, Lindsay is teaching a speech and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Lindsay earned her Master of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing and has spent the last decade reading, writing, and editing–basically, living her dream. Her debut novel, a young adult fantasy titled ANNAGREY AND THE CONSTELLATION, comes out in August 2023.
She’s personally looking for adult work only in fantasy (all categories), mystery, thriller, romance, women’s fiction, upmarket, and maybe even a thriller. Her dream acquisition would have been The Night Circus. She likes work that has hints of magic and a bit of darkness. She is open to all voices and is seeking a diverse list of authors to represent with a particular interest in seeing work from Indigenous creators.
Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary.
At the 2023 BWW, Amaryah is teaching a speech and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling.
Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations, including the Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Amaryah earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies in American History. She completed an MA at Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute and a PhD at Brandeis University, and currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.
Anna Harrington is A USA Bestselling and RITA nominated author of spicy Regency romances.
At the 2023 BWW, Anna is teaching a speech. She is also offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
Anna fell in love with historical romance—and all those dashing Regency heroes—while living in London, where she studied literature and theatre. She has published award-winning books with Hachette, St. Martin’s Press, and Sourcebooks, and her novels have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, French, and Japanese. Anna loves to travel, fly airplanes, and ballroom dance, and when she isn’t busy writing her next novel, she can usually be found in her garden. She loves all things chocolate and tea, is a Doctor Who fanatic, and hopes to one day use her oven for something other than shoe storage.
Laura Biagi is a freelance editor with 14 years of experience in editing and agenting adult fiction, memoir, young adult fiction, and children’s books. Previously, she was a Literary Agent with the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, where she turned her clients’ books into New York Times bestsellers, including the bestselling YA Ash Princess trilogy by Laura Sebastian.
At the 2023 online BWW event, she is available for add-on manuscript critiques.
Laura holds an MFA from the University of Houston and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine Southeast Review, a Whiting Award finalist. She has been published in TriQuarterly Magazine, was previously Fiction Editor with the literary magazine Gulf Coast, and is obtaining her PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She has taught numerous novel-focused writing workshops in addition to workshops on how to get published, how to write query letters, and how to get an agent. As a freelance editor, she brings the insight of a prior agent, a current editor and publisher, and an author steeped in the knowledge of craft to the table. She is particularly savvy with character, plot, and pacing and channels her experience into thorough, deep-dive edits that consider every facet of your work to launch your writing to the next level and fulfill your vision for your book.
Brittany Thurman is a published author of children’s books. See all her books here.
At the online 2023 BWW, Brittany is teaching a class. She is also offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
“I have always had an affinity for stories told by my grandmother. Those same stories hold space in my writing today. My love of writing comes from my love of reading. As a kid, I could not get enough of going to bookstores and libraries.
“I am a former children’s specialist, and I am dedicated to ensuring children’s literature truthfully reflects the world in which we live. I hold an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, where I studied Dramatic Writing. I hold a BA from Kingston University, London, England, where I studied theater.
“I’m not sure how many books I’ve read as a children’s specialist, but I estimate hundreds of stories to thousands of kids across the City of Bridges. Currently, I reside in my hometown of Louisville, KY. You may find me biking along the waterfront, enjoying a musical or play, hanging out with my family, grilling in the backyard or snuggled up with a good book.”
Joel Brigham is the founder of Brigham Editorial, a fiction-editing service that has helped writers find agents and agented authors prepare for submission and publication.
He also is an editorial consultant for The Purcell Agency, a literary agency based out of Chicago, Illinois. As an author, he writes YA contemporary fiction and has two books on submission, both represented by agent Tina P. Schwartz.
He also edits content for Basketball News and spent 12 years covering the NBA as a senior sportswriter for HoopsWorld and Basketball Insiders. He has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and a master’s degree in English Education and has taught high school English for 18 years.
At the 2023 online BWW workshop, he is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
S.Z. Estavillo is a writing coach, social media instructor, and former literary agent.
At the 2023 online BWW, she is critiquing manuscripts as an add-on for conference attendees.
She has a master’s degree in television, radio, and film and a bachelor’s degree in film. She has also worked with studios and agencies critiquing manuscripts and greenlighting film screenplays.
“My specialty is directing content from concept through completion. I have extensive professional writing experience that marries well with content direction, management, strategy, and social media marketing. The content creation, production process, and utilizing social media for marketing are what I absolutely love to do. I not only direct, write, create multi-media and social content for companies but also in my free time because it is my passion.”
New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne (see her website here) is a Chinese American author who wrote her first novel while researching the neuroscience of reading at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, she’s switched to full time writing, which also involves getting into people’s heads but without the help of a three tesla MRI scanner.
At the 2023 online Boston conference, Livia is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
She is the author of the MIDNIGHT THIEF (An Indies Introduce New Voices selection) and ROSEMARKED (A YALSA Teens Top Ten nominee), as well as the picture book I DREAM OF POPO, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus.